A guide to Zoysia grass

Today Zoysia grass is one of the most popular types of lawn cover in the United States, but this variety of grass seed has only been available in the states since the late 19th century. It was originally found throughout various parts of Asia, and is extremely common throughout the Philippines. Though it is naturally a tropical plant, Zoysia grass can thrive in many parts of the United States – including northern states that experience fairly harsh winter climates.

Like any type of plant, Zoysia grass has specific conditions and care practices that it responds to best. If you’ve recently planted this variety of grass in your lawn, or if you’re just considering it, it is important that you take the time to do some research about this plant’s ideal conditions. Here is a guide to basic Zoysia grass care, including steps that will ensure the best Zoysia grass harvest possible:

Subtropical origins

Zoysia grass grows naturally in various Asian countries including Japan, Korea and The Philippines. It was first imported to the United States from Manilla just over a century ago, and unlike in its native conditions, it only remains green until soon after the first frost of the year. While Zoysia grass can survive in some colder climates, if your state experiences extremely harsh winters that start early and remain cold after spring has arrived in other areas, you may want to select a cool-season grass instead of Zoysia.

The blades of Zoysia grass are thin (even slightly wiry) and grow to a sharp point. In warm and sunny conditions this grass will grow to be thick and healthy. When properly maintained it makes an extremely stunning lawn covering. Today there are several varieties of this type of grass on the market, including Zoysia matrella, Zoysia japonica and Zoysia tenuifolia. Here’s a brief look at the differences between these three varieties:

  • Zoysia japonica is the type of seed you’ll be buying if you plan to plant Zoysia grass in your lawn. Others are available as sod, but only Zoysia japonica can be grown naturally in your lawn. This is the coarsest of the Zoysia grasses.

  • Zoysia matrella is suitable for growing in lawns that are covered in slightly shady areas. If direct sunlight is not present in your lawn, this is your best choice.

  • Zoysia tenuifolia has the finest texture of all of the varieties of Zoysia grass, and it is the least resilient to tough winters. This variety is only recommended in areas that experience a year-round tropical or subtropical climate.

Zoysia grass care

Regular maintenance is required for any type of grass, but you should place emphasis on certain steps when caring for Zoysia grass. One of the reasons that Zoysia grass has become so popular throughout the U.S. is it’s drought tolerance. This doesn’t mean you don’t have to irrigate your lawn after planting this type of grass, but the amount of water that is required will be greatly reduced. Problem pests are also far less likely in a lawn where Zoysia grass is present, with the major exception being white grubs. Grubs can cause big damage, but thankfully most lawn care companies offer grub control services to their customers.

Finally, don’t forget the importance of regularly mowing your yard if Zoysia grass has been planted. This grass creates a natural thatch layer, and while this can prevent pests it also can stop nutrients from reaching the root zone of your crop. Regular mowing and raking of your lawn will prevent this thatch from occurring, but if you go too long without these maintenance practices additional work may be required.


TruGreen will gladly visit your property as often as needed between scheduled visits to make any necessary adjustments and to ensure your satisfaction.

Getting Started with TruGreen

1. Call or fill out the form above to reach a lawn care specialist.

2. Know the square footage of your yard, as well as any specific areas of concern.

3. With the help of your specialist, create a customized lawn care plan that meets your lawn's needs.

4. Schedule your Healthy Lawn Analysis to start your service.